Despite the fluffy sounding title, 'Heartbeat Detector' is one of the most disturbing films of the year.
Nicolas Klotz' work-based psychological thriller focuses on two characters, played by 'Munich' co-stars Mathieu Amalric and
Michael Lonsdale. Amalric plays a psychologist working within a large factory, who stumbles across a disturbing connection between the company, his boss (Lonsdale) and Nazism.
Based on the best-selling book by Belgian writer François Emmanuel, the film's original title is 'La Question Humaine'. No doubt no accident that the filmmakers toned down the translated title, particularly for American audiences. Regardless of how it misleadingly sounds like a romantic comedy, one minute in and you know the next 142 are not going to end with a happily-ever-after.
Originally, the film pitches the idea that post-War civilisation and moral corporations are a big lie but 'Heartbreak Detector' is a lot more than a French (subtitled) 'Michael Clayton'.
The film is very original in its views of the modern day ramifications of World War II and the Nazi legacy living on in modern corporate hierarchy. Interspersed with footage of the horrors the Jews suffered at the hands of Hitler and his henchmen, the film analyses the modern effects of a Nazi-style corporate regime on the human psyche.
Directing and writing team Klotz and Elisabeth Perceval take so much time leading up to and then debating the important human question, that they neglect to give us characters to care about.
Despite this Lonsdale and, new 'Quantum of Solace' Bond bad boy Amalric's poignant scenes generate underplayed tension, resulting in the hefty impact of the film.
Klotz tells the story against a grey, cold corporate background soundtracked by an intentionally jarring mix of Schubert and techno, which combined mirror the disorientation of Amalric's central character.
Many intense political films pack a punch but in an entertaining way, ensuring the material is more accessible and reaches a wide audience. However, here there's no spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. Whilst clever, provoking and original, 'Heartbreak Detector' is very hard on the stomach, head and heart.
Mathieu Amalric is currently filming Bond's next instalment, 'Quantum of Solace'. To watch behind the scenes footage of the film click here.
Amalric also stars in 'Un Secret'. To read our review of the film click here.